Editorial

Christianity is well known for its far-reaching influence on the history and culture of Western civilization. It is possibly less well known for its vestiges in following major trade routes across East Asia.

Macau played an important role in the development of Christianity within the region. Indeed, the presence of Christianity in Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor and Singapore is related with the presence of Christians in Macau. It is also impossible to understand the evolvement of the different shapes that Christianity assumed in Asia without considering the relationship between the Philippines, Goa, and Macau.

Christian denominations that established themselves in Macau used the city as a springboard from which to establish missions in other parts of Asia, including China. The resulting challenges faced by different Asian missions served to shape many of the Christian denominations that exist today, including Catholicism itself. Indeed the many debates that have surrounded ‘missio ad gentes’, ‘indigenisation’, ‘inculturation’, ‘acculturation’, and ‘multiple belonging’, have continued to emerge with the settlement of different Christian missionary experiences within Asia. They are, together with other doctrinal and non-doctrinal dimensions of Christian faith, a challenge and a task for whoever wants to reflect about the presence of Christianity in Macau and Asia.

When Portuguese traders started to settle down in Macau during the sixteenth century, they brought with them missionaries. This new moment in the history of the presence of Christianity in Macau also marked the development of centers for theological preparation for those missionaries. At that time, the College of Saint Paul and the Seminary of Saint Joseph were the major reference centers; each one of course with its own history and vicissitudes.

In 2007, the study of theology was reintroduced into Macau. This was and continues to be in the form of a joint venture between the University of Saint Joseph and the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Portugal. At the University of Saint Joseph, the courses in Christian Studies that are delivered serve the dual purpose of developing academic teaching and research. Within this purpose, the mission of Orientis Aura is to publish the results of theological research, as well as other scientific perspectives about the presence of Christianity in Macau and Asia.

The winds that brought the Portuguese and other sailors to Macau took them all over the Pacific, as well as made them return home. The name given to this journal, Orientis Aura, evokes those winds but also expresses the wish that Macau can be a place for the production of scientific research regarding the Christian presence in Asia.

João Eleutério (Chief Editor)

Published: 2016-12-02

Editorial

Articles

  • Arnold Monera

    Abstract

    The sacrament of Baptism is the foundation of Christian life and ministry.  The Church calls on all the baptized to live out their baptismal vocation. Because Christian life is a lifelong living out of one’s baptism, it is extremely necessary that Christians understand what the New Testament says about it.  This article examines the meaning and practice of baptism in the New Testament by looking at its historical antecedents, by comparing it with the baptism of John, and by looking at the variety of metaphors employed by the early church to explain the practice.

  • Fausto Gomez

    Abstract

    From a reason-faith perspective, I reflect on “Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes Fifty Years Later.” In the introduction, I speak briefly on the Second Vatican Council, and on its Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes (“Joy and Hope”) and its ethical and social teachings.

  • Randolf Flores

    Abstract

    This study will discuss the following Old Testament texts: Gen 32:23-32; Jon 1:17; Tob 6:1-9; and Exod 4:24-26 and will argue that these are about the initiation of a person to do a divine mission. Some parallels from Asia—Epic Gilgamesh, texts from Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Philippine epic, Biag ni Lam-ang will also be taken into consideration to shed light on them. It will also present their interpretation as typoi of the sacraments of initiations found in early Christian literature and art.

  • Franz Gassner

    Abstract

    The author emphasizes the crucial relevance of religious liberty and freedom of expression for a harmonious and peaceful development of modern societies. He follows the prophetic Declaration of Religious Freedom of Second Vatican Council (1965) with its constitutional limitation of governmental powers in matters of religion. The high value of religious freedom is judged as bulwark of all human rights and true capstone of sound human and societal developments, which have to be guarded against any form of infringements. In this regard, a reasonable education in religious freedom and liberty is indispensable for young people of the twenty-first century. Education in religious freedom in the context of moral and religious formation is based on the dignity of every human person and promotes a deeper mutual and cultural understanding by respecting the conscience of every human person. It thus carries the potential to diminish conflicts and clashes in a sustainable way. Educational reforms in countries have to include the high value of religious liberty and freedom as a main element and condition for human dignity and a peaceful global development.

  • Archibald L.H.M. van Wieringen

    Abstract

    In the Bible, having a meal is not equal to filling one’s stomach. Far from it. Meals are held in high regard in the Bible. Because of that, meals have a special place in Jewish and Christian liturgy as well. In this article, I would like to sketch the outlines of the Biblical characteristics of meals. The main aspects go back to the Passover meal, which, in the Bible, functions as a basic model for all meals. Starting from the Passover meal, I would like to deal with the various aspects of meals in the Bible. I will mention four characteristics in particular: community, hospitality, liberation, and bread and wine. Subsequently, I would like to make clear that these Biblical elements have got their place in the celebration of the Eucharistic meal.